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Author: Guest Contributor

#TBB10 With Benjamin Zephaniah

With a career spanning nearly 40 years, Benjamin Zephaniah is one of Britain’s best-loved writers. A poet, playwright, and author, his YA novel Gangster Rap was one of five YA novels released as a special edition for World Book Day in March. TBB interviewed the man himself about his career, writing, and involvement in World Book Day 2018. 1# How did you come to be involved with World Book Day? For the first time, WBD has included teen and young adult favourites to be available as special editions. Every time I hear about books and literature I remember the 14/15-year-old me who didn’t like books. I...

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80% #Outof100 Beware The Curious Mr Gahdzooks and his Cautionary Tales for Naughty Children by Julian Vassell

Every generation has its ‘bogeyman’. You know, that spooky, creepy character that your mum warned would come for you when you were a kid if you didn’t eat your dinner, go to bed on time or was being plain cheeky. Today’s bogeyman for errant children is brought to life in the form of Mr. Gahdzooks, a mischievous figure who feeds off the naughtiness of children everywhere. Tall, dark and rather sinister looking, he hovers around corners taking note of every transgression. Forget your ‘please and thank yous’, break wind without so much as an ‘excuse me’, don’t eat all...

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80% #OutOf100 – The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

When Cece Solarin moves to Brighton with her husband and three children, she is unaware that she is stepping into the midst of a deadly secret within her new neighbourhood. Just three weeks before Cece’s arrival, Yvonne an apparently popular parent was brutally attacked and left for dead in the playground of the school where Cece’s children are enrolled. Despite her unease about her new surroundings, Cece is reassured by her burgeoning friendship with three other mothers, Maxie, Anaya, and Hazel whose children also attend the school. But before long Cece is unnerved by the realisation that not only...

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Who better to tell the black female story than a black woman? Thank you Ava!

When you think of a director, the first thing that probably pops into mind is a white man standing on set, wearing a cap, folding his arms. For a long time, these cap wearing white men were the only ones carving out narratives for black women. As a result, we existed on screen as either the ‘angry’, ‘single’, ‘downtrodden’, ‘strong/hardened’ black woman.’  These tropes were unlike the women I saw growing up. I witnessed strong, but sensitive, beautiful but beastly women in my lifetime and I understood that what was reflected on TV and Film, was only a fraction...

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#TBB10 with Tolulope Ogunmefun aka Don’t Jealous Me aka author of new children’s book The Frog and his dancing shoes

Tolulope Ogunmefun is known all over the world by his online social media name “Don’t Jealous Me”. Launching his YouTube channel in 2008 which boasts 41 million views, Ogunmefun has been entertaining fans, both young and old, with hilarious comedy sketches and vlogs. However, the YouTube popularity became challenging on a personal level as he was only recognised as Don’t Jealous Me. After attempts to get into acting and getting repeatedly turned down he decided to take time out. Focusing on his acting paid off lead to him getting a significant role in popular Sky One sitcom Sick Note and the upcoming...

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85% #OutOf100: Hold Tight through a fantastic joyride through UK Grime history

Disclaimer: I’m not a Grime fan, I mean there’s the odd track I like, but by and large I don’t really follow the scene. That said I still I can appreciate the roots from which Grime emerged because I was and am still a Jungle and UK Garage fan. I also like cultural history, so for me, this enthusiastic, energetic, humorous, ‘fanboying’ journey through a section of UK Black music history was like a fantastic joyride with an ‘Amen Break’ enthused soundtrack playing in the background. Reading through the track list, which is best read alongside listening to YouTube or...

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#TBB10 – With Author Lorna Liverpool and her hidden treasures

Born and raised in London, Lorna Liverpool’s passion for writing began when she won a poetry competition at the age of 14. She then went on to write short stories in her spare time. It was after the birth of her first child that Lorna decided to revisit her passion for writing children stories based on her African heritage. Her first novel A Dance to Remember was published in November 2014. As well as writing children’s books, Lorna actively engages with her young readers by organising and hosting workshops in schools, libraries, hospitals, and festivals around the UK. These...

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98% #OutOf100 What’s in a name? #Hashtag Lightie opens up conversations about race in the UK

After a successful run earlier this year, #Hashtag Lightie, the third play by writer/director Lynette Linton, is back for a second run for a short time at the Arcola Theatre. The play explores several issues that surround the mixed-race experience in the UK, in particular, the relationship with the word ‘lightie’ both within and outside the Black community. You may have heard it, used it, or even have been called it; the term ‘lightie’ is one that is loaded with several meanings. And attaching it to a hashtag brings with it a particular nuance that does not go unchecked...

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95% #OutOf100 Best of the Summer Reads ‘The Hate U Give’ By Angie Thomas

Starr is an ordinary 16 year old, irritated by her overprotective older brother and her cheeky younger brother. She has a boyfriend, Chris, that her dad doesn’t know about, and who like her has a deep and abiding love for the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She does all she can to fit into the spaces allocated to her, especially at school, where she is one of the few Black kids in attendance. Always presenting a ‘positive’ side of her Blackness at school (never showing anger or any other type of strong emotion), Starr tries hard not to fall...

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90% #OutOf100 – Babette’s Feast @ The Print Room, Notting Hill Gate

I love food, I love to eat and I loved Sheila Atim in Les Blancs so this production promised to be a feast of delights for me; and it was. I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation by Glyn Maxwell and directed by Bill Buckhurst. I hadn’t seen this classic before, either on stage or in film but I will look for the award winning film now. Babette’s Feast written by Karen Blixen takes us on a journey with Babette as she arrives in a remote Norwegian fishing community where life is simple, austere and pious, as a refugee from Paris....

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